WASHINGTON – U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin, the judge in the former House Speaker Dennis Hastert case on Tuesday – and a two-time donor to Hastert’s congressional campaign fund – offered to recuse himself unless both parties agree to waive that recusal.
The Sun-Times reported Durkin said he believes a “reasonable person might believe” a bias may exist. He gave both parties until 4 p.m. Thursday to decide whether he should indeed be disqualified.
Here is Durkin’s political pedigree:
* Federal Election Commission contribution records show that Durkin donated as a lawyer in private practice to Hastert’s congressional campaign when Hastert was House speaker. While working for Mayer Brown in Chicago’s Loop Durkin gave $1,000 to Hastert’s campaign on June 29, 2004, and $500 on June 26, 2002. Hastert’s son Ethan is a Mayer Brown partner.
*Durkin was confirmed by the Senate in December 2012 — making it to the federal bench after trying for years to get the spot.
Durkin submitted an application to Sen. Dick Durbin D-Ill. on May 8, 2009, according to a questionnaire reviewed by the Sun-Times that Durkin completed for the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Following an interview by Durbin and his selection committee, Durkin’s name joined others on a list for consideration by President Barack Obama. Durkin was not picked.
Durkin made another bid for a federal judgeship on March 18, 2011, sending his application to Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill. This time, Obama nominated Durkin.
*One of Durkin’s seven brothers is Jim Durkin, who became the Illinois House Republican leader on Oct. 22, 2013.Jim Durkin was Sen John McCain’s R-Ariz. Illinois state chairman when McCain ran for president in 2000 and 2008. Between 2006 and 2008 Durkin donated $4,300 to political funds associated with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the 2008 Republican presidential nominee.
*McCain supported Jim Durkin when he ran for Senate in 2002 against Durbin. Thomas Durkin adonated $2,000 to his brother’s failed Senate bid.
*Durkin provided pro bono assistance to the Illinois House Impeachment Committee scrutinizing then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich after he was indicted on federal corruption charges, according to Durkin’s questionnaire.Jim Durkin in 2008-2009 was the ranking Republican on that panel.